Cayaponia tayuya is a perennial vine native to the Brazilian rainforest. Its very aggressive vine, with tenacious tendrils, will reach up to 40 feet (12 m) long very quickly. The finely pubescent leaves will reach up to 6 inches long (15 cm) long by 4.5 inches wide (11.5 cm). Underneath side of the leaves are sandpapery rough. The native people have long used the long underground tubers for medicinal purposes. The tuber will reach up to 3 feet (0.9 m) in length. Studies have shown that the tuber has potential use in treatment of arthritis. The plants are very easy to grow, but a word of caution -- the plants are very aggressive and can become very weedy if they escape.
Blooming: In nature, the plants bloom in the wet season. The small blooms are yellowish white and are not very showy.
Culture: Cayaponia tayuya needs a moist rich soil with partial shade to full sun. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist at all times and will grow very fast. They need support to climb on. We fertilize the plants monthly with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the plants are allowed to dry out and go dormant. Foliage will die back and is removed. In spring, we start the water and fertilizer regime and the plants will grow from the dormant tubers. If the plants are not given support, they will scramble, rooting at the node at every opportunity and spreading to cover any open space. Very invasive.
Propagation: Cayaponia tayuya is propagated by cuttings taken in the growing season and from seed.
Cayaponia tayuya was featured as Plant of the Week November 16-22, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.